The Deadhead

“Yeah, I’m the deadhead. Here you go.”
“You’re a little late, but the jump seat is open.”
“You know. it’s been a while since I’ve done this. Which one’s the jump seat again?”
“Have a nice flight.”

“Are you my deadhead?”

“Frank, Captain Oliver, John Larkin, the copilot.”
“Fred Tulley, flight engineer.”
“Frank Taylor, Pan Am. Thanks for giving me a lift, boys.”
“Go ahead and take a seat, Frank. We’re about to push. What kind of equipment you on, DC-8?”
“Uh, 707.”
“You turning around on the redeye?”
“Uh, I’m jumping puddles for the next few months. Trying to earn my keep running leapfrogs for the weak and weary.”
“No shame in that. We all did it.”

Screenplay by Jeff Nathanson | Catch Me If You Can (2002)

In a recent response to an article by Stephen Downes, I briefly touched on the use of language within the context of practice and access to learning and professional environments.

This account of how real-life sixties fraudster and conman Frank Abagnale Jr. hitches a cockpit ride whilst posing as a Pan American World Airways pilot, may be fictitious, but it perfectly demonstrates how familiarisation with the jargon (along with a uniform and bags of confidence) was sufficient to convince professionals of his authenticity, despite not having the remotest idea of how to fly a plane.

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